Pope was released by Ipswich and playing in non-league for Bury seven years ago... now he’s in the England squad

PUBLISHED: 16:05 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 18:24 15 March 2018

Nick Pope has been called up to the England squad just seven years after playing for Bury Town. Picture: PA

Nick Pope has been called up to the England squad just seven years after playing for Bury Town. Picture: PA

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Former Bury Town goalkeeper Nick Pope has continued his remarkable rise from non-league football after being named in the England squad for the first time today.

Nick Pope has been called up to the England squad just seven years after playing for Bury Town. Picture: PANick Pope has been called up to the England squad just seven years after playing for Bury Town. Picture: PA

The former West Suffolk College pupil has been named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for upcoming friendlies with Holland and Italy, along with Jordan Pickford, Joe Hart and Jack Butland.

He was playing for Bury just seven years ago after being released by Ipswich Town, before eventually earning a move to League One side Charlton Athletic in 2011. Once at The Valley, he embarked on a succession of loan spells before finally securing a first team place in 2015.

His form earned him a move to the Premier League with Burnley last summer and, after replacing injured No.1 Tom Heaton in September, he hasn’t looked back.

Pope was a youngster at Ipswich Town but was released as a 16-year-old and went on to play part-time at Bury, whilst studying at West Suffolk College, under the leadership of current Needham Market boss, Richard Wilkins.

Speaking after Pope made his Premier League debut in September, Wilkins said: “Nick sent me a text message on Monday reminding me that when he left (Bury Town), to join Charlton, I said he would be playing Premier League football in five years. It took six but I am delighted for him!

“He (Pope) was always unorthodox, not your classic keeper.

“He was a bit like Pat Jennings, Neville Southall, Peter Schmeichel where he had the ability to save shots with all different parts of his body.

“His kicking wasn’t great when he first started, he could barely clear the 18-yard box, but he has improved that now through listening and hard work and I am really glad he has got his opportunity.”

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